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Lonhala Magnair

Older Americans Are Sicker and Face More Financial Barriers to Health Care

A survey of adults ages 65 and older in 11 countries found U.S. respondents were sicker than their counterparts in other countries and, despite universal coverage under Medicare, faced more financial barriers to health care.

The study, by Robin Osborn and colleagues from The Commonwealth Fund, found at least 1 in 8 older adults reported having three or more chronic conditions, with rates ranging from a high of 36% in the United States to a low of 13% in New Zealand.

The United States had the highest share of respondents (23%) who said that in the past year they had not visited a doctor when they were sick, had avoided a recommended medical test or treatment, had not filled a prescription, or had skipped doses, all because of cost.

For details, see Osborn et al. (2017). Older Americans were sicker and faced more financial barriers to health care than counterparts in other countries. Health Affairs, 36(12). https://doi.org/10.1377/hlthaff.2017.1048.

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